Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bert's new home

Bert went to his new home on Sunday.

Bert on the road
He travels really well, he sits and watches or sleeps.

I brought his cat tree (on loan) so he would have familiar space to help him transition.  He took to it immediately, and climbed up.

He didn't do much looking around, just hunkered down. I got the sense he knew what was going on and was sad.

There are two older dogs that live in the home, soon they will all be good friends.

Petey and Peanut

Leaving Bert was hard, really, really hard. We've journeyed far together over the last year. When I trapped him, he was wearing an old collar, so that told me he had been friendly at some point with someone. But he had been on his own for a long time, so we had to earn each other's trust. He seemed to love being petted but would always end with a nasty bite or a full-clawed swat when I withdrew my hand to go. I almost gave up on him on several different occasions, even going so far as to get the carrier out in order to return him to the trapping site. But each time the carrier came out, his aggressive behaviors immediately went away and he rolled over and wanted his tummy rubbed. I couldn't do it. I later realized his aggressive behaviors were probably coming from a place of fearing he was going to be abandoned again. He adored the affection and never wanted it to end for fear it would never return, as had been his experience.

Then early in our relationship, I felt like I was going to lose him. I could tell something was wrong with his abdomen as it felt like he had a hard mass in there. The rescue vet did a quick physical exam and she diagnosed him with an intestinal mass, she recommended exploratory surgery. Thankfully, a second opinion provided a more optimistic and treatable diagnosis of Mycoplasma, which we treated and he healed up beautifully.

Bert is a very special soul. Some cats just kind of go through life pretty unaware and aloof, but Bert is a wise, deep souled cat. It's easy to fall in love with his ways. I have grown quite attached to him, enjoying his fun playful nature and many cuddles. I knew giving him up would tear me to pieces but I also knew it had to be done. It helps to know his new human adores him and is super excited to have him be part of her family, I'm thrilled with the home he landed. Bert will certainly be adored and cherished. Knowing that is great and helps a bit, but overall, it still hurts like hell to say goodbye.

Seeing him stressed and sad as I left, tore me up. I did my best to communicate to him what all was going on. I know this is a transition time, a stressful time that will pass, I know that, but my heart still hurts seeing him stressed. As I was leaving, I was petting his head and he gently put his paw on my hand as I slowly withdrew it. I lost it.

I felt terrible for sobbing, but there wasn't much I could do about it, the emotion was overwhelming. I felt terrible for putting Bert's new human in the awkward space of feeling thrilled and excited for getting Bert and feeling awful like she was prying someone's baby from their hands. I'm thankful for her graciousness and understanding. And thankfully, she did grant me visitation rights! We already have our first visit planned for a few weeks out.

I realized in writing this post I came to understand the deep significance of Bert's gentle paw on my hand before I left - he was closing the circle. It tells me that he understands what's happening. Unlike at the start of our relationship where he would aggressively bite and swat when I left the room, he now knows he's loved and that he's not being abandoned. He's sad, but he's also grateful. Everyday I felt his gratitude for being rescued and once again that gratitude was there. This knowledge helps settle my heart - you're one amazing cat Bert. I will always love you.

Bert evading the trap!
Be well my Bert-man and enjoy your new home! I look forward to visiting with you soon.


  1. Guess who is weeping too? That would be me. I understand.

  2. Bert. Let us know how you fare sweet boy. Please.

  3. You are a very special man, Cat Guy. I applaud anyone who can foster, fall in love, then hand their hearts away to the new adoptive family. Bert will be fine; he came into your life for this very reason. And now the circle is closed. But I feel like crying too...

  4. Katie's Mom isn't the only one weeping.
    It's just bittersweet.
    But we're sure in your next visit you will find Bert very happy in his new forever home.

  5. I'm a foster flunky...never do it again. I just can't leave them. I'm glad you have visitation rights. Bert will always be glad to see you :)

  6. Jeepers, I'm almost bawling, reading this post. Lots and lots of purrs to Bert as he settles into his new home. A little time and patience and lots of his favourite treats or stinky goodness can go a long way to easing that transition!

  7. we are sending all of you purrs....it can be so hard to let them go, but it certainly sounds like Bert has a great new mom and family

  8. Yes indded. That Bert was very special and he always will be.

  9. Bert, you must know how much we all love you. Be well in your new home and know that you had the BEST foster Dad ever! I couldn't do it, more cuddos to you!

  10. guys...pleez ta tell yur dad knot onlee does him total lee rock, but therz noe shame what sew ever in sheddin tearz, or ad mittin two it...

    yur dad haz heart, yur dad haz compassion, yur dad haz a soul....N bert wuz... iz & all ways will be loved; N nothin.... iz better N that...

    de food serviss gurl haz seen her dad & her gram paw criez.....N her haz never felt... a shamed by it; her onlee loved her dad & her gram paw.... mor... for it....

    bert...we wish ewe all de veree veree best ♥♥♥♥♥

  11. What a bittersweet post......I can't imagine how hard it might be to bond with and help a "needy" little cat soul over the period of a year and then have to say goodbye even when it's to a wonderful forever home.......that tough of a paw was indeed a GENTLE way of his thanking you and telling you he understands. He will be so happy to see you when you visit - and hopefully by then will have adjusted to his new surroundings. Bless you for making it possible for him to have not only your love but some new love in his life.

    Hugs, Pam and Sammy

  12. I am glad he has a forever home. Sorry it had to be so difficult to part with him, you did what was right for him though.

  13. oh my this just tore me to bits. My heart is so aching for YOU and Bert....I feel your pain, it is so evident. I am praying with all of my heart that he IS cherished, as you cherished him. You both have a bond that will never end. What a special soul he is and what a special soul YOU are. Sending much love and many wishes that Bert has many happy years ahead in his new home. xxoxoxo (Can you go and visit him occasionally?)

  14. how kind of you to loan out the tree simply to make him happy :) I hope he adjusts quickly and I'm sure your first visitation will be here before you know it.

  15. I got all leaky-eyed reading this. Not only are you a super foster dad, but you write very movingly about it. Both you and Bert are lucky to have found each other. I know that Bert loves you. We are looking forward to updates.

  16. Yes, I too was teary reading it. One of our rescues also would put a paw out when stopping to pet, as she had memories of her previous foster having to leave. SO special. Anya at http://catwhisperer.blogspot.ca/

  17. Hi everyone, this is Bert's new mom. Bert fits right in at our house. The dogs respect him and he respects them, but he doesn't take any nonsense from them. They love the routine, they line up for treats together in the morning, they are making great progress in the rituals of supper and bedtime. When I do my morning exercises they love the chance to play around me on the floor and Bert is right there, getting head rubs and scratches. Petey (the black dog) waits for Bert to eat before he eats, maybe he is conceding his place? I have never ever seen that! My house feels like a home now that our kitty is here, I believe Bert was meant to be with us. Thank you Phil, words are not enough!


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